This will be third year serving as the Principal of the Ridgway Elementary School and I couldn't be happier in my role.
The school is full of kind students and supportive parents and hard-working teachers. THis year we expect to have 167+ students enrolled in preschool through fifth grade. I am very proud of the staff at RES and am excited about the work we have done to strengthen and align our curriculum. Last year we started the Bridges math program and every single teacher liked it!! The program requires more hands on learning and less teacher directed instruction. It will be exciting to see our students start their second year with the Bridges math program knowing the routines, language and expectations for mathematical thinking.
During the August inservice week the elementary staff will receive training in writing and science. The new Colorado Academic Standards require more non-ficiton writing and writing in all subject areas. The UnBoces has hired Anna Goetz to be the writing trainer for all schools in our region. Anna will be able to provide continuous training throughout the year so that our staff can continue to ask questions and learn about the best practices for students in elementary school.
We have a large amount of FOSS cience kits that are have been at RES for many years. I was able to contact a former teacher who trains teachers on using FOSS science kits and arranged for her to work with our teachers in August. Our goal for this year is to have all students experience one science and social studies unit each trimester. The science unit needs to be hands-on with many opportunities for students to ask questions and seek to find the answers. Our plan is to update the kits so student inquiry is based on the new standards and current materials.
Teaching reading is one of the MOST important things teachers do in elementary school. We have two goals in mind when teaching reading. The first is to make sure all students can independently grade level material. The second goal is to help students develop a love of reading. The only way to do this is by providing a lot of time for students to read books that they have selected every single day. Each year our classroom libraries grow to ensure we have a variety of books for students to choose from. Once reading becomes "fun" for students, they are on their way to becoming great readers. We know that if our students become strong readers in elementary school, their future years in middle, high school and college will be easier.
As a principal my goal is to ensure a safe and warm learning environment for all students and staff. The next goal is to help provide high-quality, standards-based instruction for all students each and every day. This is an on-ging goal slowly accomplished by working with teachers, administrators as well as reading professional journals and consulting with experts in education as well as representatives from the Colorado Department of Education. I am always seeking the best teaching practices to meet the many standards we are required to teach. There are so many educational programs and curriculums offered, yet I am looking for what is best for our students and staff. I want to have high expectations while protecting the innocence and joy of learning in an elementary school.